The School of Information Studies recently announced the addition of a new degree concentration for students interested in the field of information organization. The Information Organization (IO) concentration is designed for those pursuing careers in areas such as cataloging, metadata, indexing, and information architecture.
Professor Steven Miller, coordinator of the concentration, feels that information organization has become a real strength for the school. “A lot of other schools getting away from the field of information organization,” he said, “but we think that it will be a real area of growth.” Dean Hope Olson agrees that the concentration will be a boon both to students and to faculty. She notes that SOIS has recently added information organization-oriented faculty members to strength its position in the field. The addition of the PhD program furthers her argument.
Pr. Miller emphasized the demand libraries have for people skilled in the principles of information organization. With the rise of the internet there has been renewed interest in areas such as creating taxonomies, analyzing keyword searches, and structuring information in a logical manner. The need for these skills is not only limited to libraries either. There are a whole of host of museums, businesses, information firms and even government organizations that covet works who can understand and shape information.
Designed to satisfy both the theoretical and practical needs of the professions it serves, the IO concentration provides a good balance to meet the demands of the current job market. According to Professor Miller, the field is at a crossroads. “In cataloging, you have a lot of discussion over the application of standards,” he said, “but in metadata you are sort of creating your own standards.” He explained that the concentration prepares students with a broad range of organization abilities.
To obtain the concentration students must complete the necessary declaration form and take a minimum of 15 credits out of a series of qualifying elective courses. Students are encouraged to take a fieldwork in an area of interest in the field of IO, though preferably after they’ve completed some of their electives. A list of the electives can be found on the SOIS website. Anyone interested in pursuing the concentration should contact Pr. Steven Miller or for more information visit the SOIS website: http://www4.uwm.edu/sois/.